The second most destructive United States hurricane of record started modestly as a tropical wave that emerged from the west coast of Africa on August 14. Reports from private barometers helped establish that Andrew's central pressure at landfall in Homestead, Florida was 27.23 inches, which makes it the third most intense hurricane of record to hit the United States. Andrew produced a 17 ft storm surge near the landfall point in Florida, while storm tides of at least 8 ft inundated portions of the Louisiana coast. The wave spawned a tropical depression on August 16, which became Tropical Storm Andrew the next day.
Andrew's peak winds in south Florida were not directly measured due to destruction of the measuring instruments. The hurricane caused $26.5 billion in damage in the United States, of which $1 billion occurred in Louisiana and the rest in south Florida.


Further development was slow, as the west-northwestward moving Andrew encountered an unfavorable upper-level trough. The National Hurricane Center had a peak gust of 164 mph (measured 130 ft above the ground), while a 177 mph gust was measured at a private home. By August 21, Andrew was midway between Bermuda and Puerto Rico and turning westward into a more favorable environment.
Rapid strengthening occurred, with Andrew reaching hurricane strength on the 22nd and Category 4 status on the 23rd. After briefly weakening over the Bahamas, Andrew regained Category 4 status as it blasted its way across south Florida on August 24.
The hurricane continued westward into the Gulf of Mexico where it gradually turned northward.


This motion brought Andrew to the central Louisiana coast on August 26 as a Category 3 hurricane. Andrew then turned northeastward, eventually merging with a frontal system over the Mid-Atlantic states on August 28.



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